Last year when I was in Palermo, my cousin Silvana and I came across a shop in the historic center filled with various instruments. It wasn’t a music store… maybe a tailor shop? Anyway, the gentleman proprietor played mandolin for us. I took pictures of him and of all of the instruments I could. This oud was one of my subjects. This oud however, is somewhat of an anomaly. Firstly, oud is not considered a Sicilian instrument, but that’s not so odd–this is modern Italy, after all (He also had an American guitar.). What is though, is that an oud shaped like a pear like this one is (known as a oud kumethra), isn’t so common. After looking around the internet, I learned it’s most likely from Egypt. All this is to say, that happening upon this instrument, right next to a traditional Sicilian tamburello (tambourine) and all of the other more-expected instruments, is another wonderful example of the mixing of cultures that happens in Palermo!
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The oud is exquisite! I love the “face” on it with the mandala-looking symbol on its “forehead.” And what a fun-looking tambourine – I dare you not to pick this up and give it a couple of shakes! Did you, Allison?
I would’ve liked to play that tambourine, but it was clearly an antique, and well, it might not have fared well!